The significance of a checkbox

When money laundering is detected or suspected financial institutions file what is commonly called a SAR (suspicious activity report). The SAR is a report to FINCEN (financial crimes enforcement network) on the suspected activity. Currently, the SAR forms accept fraud, money laundering, and terrorist activity but do not allow financial institutions to mark accounts for suspected trafficking. Since I do not work in money laundering yet (hopefully this changes soon) I wasn’t aware this didn’t exist. I was actually reading an article written by Joann Alicea (access it here pg 73) which was published by FINCEN back in 2013. As far as I have been able to find, the SAR has not been updated yet. When a financial institution does a SAR on an account they suspect of trafficking, they must currently select other and type in the activity. Which can make it harder to categorize into groups and bundle for data since not everyone is going to write trafficking the same way. Trafficking, sex slavery, human trafficking, prostitution, forced labor, bonded labor – it can be written a lot of ways. Joann’s argument is to the point. If we as financial professionals have the ability to do more, we should. We should seize any opportunity to track, report, and prevent the financial gains and anonymous nature inside the modern trafficking industry.

Polaris puts the estimated number of slaves globally as 20.9 million. Out of the world’s 247 recognized nation/states 190 of them have populations less than 20.9 million (numbers pulled from Wikipedia).

There are more people living slavery than the population of:

Qatar- Jamaica- Albania- Sweden- Greece- Hong Kong- Israel

 Kuwait- Bosnia- Lebanon- Croatia- Czech Republic- Netherlands

New Zealand- Ireland- Norway- Singapore- Denmark- Romania

Those are just a few. There are also more slaves in the world than the population of 48 of the states in the United States. Only Texas and California exceed populations of 20 million. It would be slightly larger than imprisoning everyone in New York or Florida. Big numbers.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jnr

Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center

1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733)

to report sex trafficking, forced labor, or to get help



“In what can best be described as a dramatic shift against slavery, the Tamil Nadu state government rescued 333 forced labor slaves from a brick factory last week. This is the second-largest rescue operation IJM has ever assisted.”

333 forced laborers is an incredible rescue. The International Justice Mission’s two other largest rescues were also from this district of India and also from brick factories. The IJM is calling this a game changing moment for India’s government.   The IJM article reports that they had trouble with law enforcement either not knowing about the forced labor or refusing to admit it existed when they first began operations in India over a decade ago. This rescue was a massive and willing movement of law enforcement. One of reasons this type of slavery is able to occur is the existence of bonded labor, paying a debt with labor. With the near non-existent pay the workers can never earn enough to free themselves and their debt carries on with their children. As part of these operations the police give the victims certificates of freedom, which declares them debt free. This is given to the adults and children that are victims of the bonded labor.

“India has the highest number of forced or “bonded laborer” slaves in any country today—between 10.7-12.7 million (according to Siddarth Kara, a leading scholar on modern-day slavery).”

“‘Freedom finally came to all 333 people thanks to one man’s desperate call for help. The man found a phone number for a local government office and called on Wednesday, February 11. He shared his dire plight but was unable to explain exactly where they were located.

The head of that district, Rahul Nadh, mobilized police to track the call and go with his team to investigate the location. It turned out that the caller was inside a brick factory that was operating without a license.”

Full Article HERE also check out their largest operation HERE

End It Movement/Stand For freedom


Here in Feb. The end it movement is having the day to shine a light on slavery, 2/27. They are asking for donations of 7 dollars per person and also to share the event to increase the awareness and funds raised. Feel free to join the end it movement under this page’s team (link HERE) or start your own.

April 6-10, the IJM is also hosting an event called Stand 4 Freedom, they are asking for signatures on a not available yet petition and also for volunteers to commit one day -24hours- to stand and advertise freedom. Many college campuses have chapters of the IJM that will be hosting events.


End It Movement 2015


Quick post 🙂 Also I’m a little late setting this up..

Shine a light on slavery day 2/27 is quickly approaching.  Join me in fundraising for the End it movement.  Join my team or create your own and challenge your friends to join.

Join my 27X7 team fight to end slavery in our generation, shine a light on slavery day 2/27/2015


Darpa on Trafficking/being Jonah/sufficient grace

I want to start this post with the topic of trafficking. It’s going to transition into faith as most of my posts do. If you are here for one or the other, that’s fine read both or part I get it.

The world we live in is an interesting place. To sell slaves hundreds of years ago required established markets where buyers could come to make purchases. In the evolving digital age physical markets are not the only method of purchase. The rise of the “dark web” or the internet you can’t find via google or any normal web search, creates a safe haven for the bartering of trafficked victims, arms, drugs, and anything else illegal and dangerous. The dark net is not a field I’m I know much about and if you happen to be an expert please leave a comment explaining it in more detail than I am about to. The dark web came about because the US government wanted a secure means of transmitting data to intelligence assets in foreign areas. The dark web is created by using special routers known as onion routers who layer encryption to create an anonymous connection for the user. Inside the dark net websites like the Silk Road exist selling illegal goods anonymously and to anonymous buyers. Purchases are done with bitcoins usually, a digital currency that makes hunting criminals via money laundering much more difficult. All in all, though it is possible for authorities to track and eventually shutdown the buyers (the Silk Road and the Silk Road 2.0 have both been brought down by the feds) and purchasers in the dark net it is a lot harder.

Welcome to the story, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, commonly known as DARPA. DARPA is always on the edge of technology and they have some really cool robots but those you’ll need to find on your own. DARPA (who as I understand it is largely behind the existence of the dark web) is developing a program called MEMEX. MEMEX is sort of like a search engine (did I mention those don’t work/exist in the dark web?) It catalogues data on topics saving that information for when it’s needed. One of the things that makes the dark web tricky is that often ads are placed and removed before law enforcement can even find them. MEMEX would automatically be collecting trafficking posts and websites that appear in the dark web and saving all the information they can from the post, user information etc. Though DARPA didn’t build this just for the sake of trafficking, it is the item of focus during the prototype stage. Possibly because it’s a terrible and fast growing crime or it could be because it’s a business that moves all over the world at a rapid pace and would push data tracking as far as any crime could.

“In a demo conducted for 60 Minutes, White’s team showed how law enforcement could possibly track the movement of people—both trafficked and traffickers—based on data related to online advertisements for sex. The 60 Minutes piece wasn’t clear about how this was done and appeared to focus on the IP address of where the ads were hosted, implying that tracking where an ad moves from one IP address to another could reveal to law enforcement where the trafficker is located. But White says the IP address is the least important information they analyze. Instead they focus on other data points.

“Sometimes it’s a function of IP address, but sometimes it’s a function of a phone number or address in the ad or the geolocation of a device that posted the ad,” he says. “There are sometimes other artifacts that contribute to location.”

“You can imagine a scenario where people are moving around the country with women and are interested in advertising them—they post ads in different places. It can involve the same women and some of the same info like phone numbers. Via methods of connecting content through shared attributes—meaning the same number or image appearing on ads—you can create a network to understand where these things are connected and where they may be located.”

He notes that the connection from the online ads to the real world is not always accurate or a one-to-one match. “But that’s why there are investigators and prosecutors involved to do interpretation and make decisions. Darpa just creates the tech, and organizations adopt the technology to use it.”

Above piece from Wired

It’s a very cool science and what DARPA is building will help law enforcement immensely in all aspects of the criminal society using the dark web.


I like story of Jonah. I’ve written about it before. I think I relate to Jonah more than I relate to most figures of the Bible. Of course it is not that I have been eaten by a fish but the fact that I feel like I’m still running away from Nineveh.

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord…4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship….they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Jonah 1. Altered for the sake of keeping it short.

But Jonah ran away from the Lord… Most Christians have had these moments on various levels. Sometimes it’s as simple as not doing an act of kindness and sometimes you might literally be running away from the place God is asking you to go. Modern Christianity is an interesting thing. From the beginning of our faith there has been a constant commandment.. go and make disciples. When Jesus called the disciples, those rough and tough fisherman patriarchs of the faith, He said I will make you fishers of men. That’s the beginning of the faith. The First followers and the first thing He said to them was that they would be making disciples. It’s this aspect of “go” that the modern church seems to have a problem with. We exalt missionaries like they’re heroes for their sacrifice but that sacrifice is supposed to come from all of us. I’m not saying that every sacrifice is the same and not everyone is going to be called to Africa or Thailand but sacrifice was part of the agreement it’s a fundamental part of the New Testament.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”

Philippians 3:7-8

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Luke 9:23-26

“He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:59-62

Modern Christianity is often teaching a message that has nothing to do with sacrifice. I grew up in a very popular very large Church where the pastor is known for his scathing hellfire and brimstone teaching. My conflicts with the church ideology almost caused me to lose my faith forever. It’s interesting that while he is remarkably hellfire and brimstone that he is always teaching that God wants Christians to be wealthy and that if your faithful wealth will follow you. There is just no record of that in the Gospel.

“The young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Mathew 19:20-23

The modern church also seems to have a tendency to preach this sugar coated faith that attracts people. They want the Church to grow even if it means watering down the faith. I get it to a degree. If they started preaching that the Christian calling was to abandon our lives to the faith.. There would be less people in the Churches on Sunday. The people there though, would be beautiful dedicated, and true followers of the faith. Jesus had no interest in these part time followers of the faith.

He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.

Luke 9:3-5

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15-16

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Mathew 7:21-23

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Mathew 24:41-45

In Luke he tells the disciples to depart from the places that don’t want to hear the gospel. He doesn’t say sugar coat it and promise them a successful wealthy life. Preachers are always talking about good works not being a requirement of salvation that you can be saved even if you aren’t doing these good things. Yes its true faith is sufficient. Good works are a byproduct of that faith though. That last Bible verse is saying that directly. We are supposed to care for the world around us.

I got a little off topic. My point is that Christianity is a radical faith. We are supposed to abandon all we are for the faith. Anything God asks us to give we give. This is not a feel good religion. It’s a religion of sacrifice and love. Not everyone’s sacrifice is the same but if your faith isn’t calling you to give things up then you may not be listening.

The Bible says to take up your cross daily. The cross is a tool of suffering. You can’t carry a cross without suffering

–Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan

I personally am tired of running from my Nineveh. To me this is missions, I don’t think it’s a long term calling but I know that I am supposed to go. So today I’m going to breaking the news to my family I intend to apply for the World Race for a Jan 2016 start date, and if it is in God’s plan then I will get accepted and go. It comes at a difficult time in my life, as my friends are starting families and real careers, I just feel a disconnect to most of it all because I’m staying in an environment where I am holding on to things I was already asked to leave. But like Jonah, I am ready to get out of the boat.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Come,” he said.

Mathew 14:25-29

God and the Mountain.

One of my pastors (I want to say it was Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone) back in the day used to tell the story of the Israelites 40 year trek like this. The Israelites disobeyed God so He had them go around the mountain. Once they completed going around the mountain He would ask are you ready to follow My commandments? The Israelites would disobey God again so God would say take another lap around that mountain.


Do you ever feel like you might be taking laps around a mountain? At just about this same time last year I was waiting to hear back from a big job I had applied for, interviewed, had more than a few hints I was getting but not only did I not get it, they didn’t even tell me. I had to ask. At the time I felt like God had just told me to take a lap. I felt that way because I really felt like part of me was being driven to do the world race, I was still debating that at the time this blog got started up. Today I feel like I got told to take another lap. Got a decent honor at work was nice my mangers manager had a meeting with me to talk about my opinion on improving things at work but towards the end of the meeting I found out she’s going to block my attempt to move up –which is her prerogative, it’s a company policy she has to sign off on movement if you haven’t been in the position a year- but I wasn’t really expecting it. All I could hear inside my head were the words “take another lap around that mountain.”

That’s not to say that I didn’t already feel like I had been ignoring a bigger plan. It’s why I had stopped writing on here, I felt guilty every time I did. That I wasn’t somewhere doing more for the people that really need it. Working in the financial industry has a lot of perks but helping society for the sake of helping society is not one of them. Although the comfort of the industry is great.. sometimes you are actively being summoned out of that comfort zone.  The truth is that our faith calls us to be disciples and to make disciples.  To spread the faith, teach people, and love them.  The odds are if this is not an aspect of your life then you are probably circling your own metaphorical mountain.

The Would-be Followers of Jesus

57 While they were walking along the road, a man told him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus told him,

“Foxes have holes and birds have nests,
    but the Son of Man has no place to rest.”

59 He told another man, “Follow me.”

But he said, “Lord,first let me go and bury my father.”

60 But he told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another man said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to those at home.”

62 Jesus told him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-63 ISV

As a closing thought for tonight’s short post, I am reminded of some words from Saint Augustine, a favorite of this blog.

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
Saint Augustine

“Enter the light of your own will, or be dragged to it.”

This past week I had the pleasure of taking the AML (anti-money laundering) course at ACAMS (an accrediting body for AML professionals). While exploring the site I discovered a Human Trafficking section, I’ve decided to share a select piece here. As I’ve mentioned before the key to breaking networks is data and the financial industry is ripe with data.

“In its 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the department highlighted efforts by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), New York investigators and eight financial institutions to better identify transactional red flags linked to the crime, including unusual cross-border transfers and simultaneous openings and closings of accounts.

The financial institutions—Bank of America, American Express, Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., TD Bank, Wells Fargo and Western Union— spoke with representatives of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in an April 2013 roundtable on identifying human traffickers.

“I don’t see bankers as people with money, but as people with data,” said Martina Vandenberg, founder and president of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, in a statement on the roundtable. “We have never before bridged this idea of financial crime and human trafficking. Bringing these two worlds together will increase the number of trafficking prosecutions in the United States and around the world.”

That trend should only strengthen, said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University and author of Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime and Terrorism.

“Many more banks should be mining their data and working with law enforcement to find patterns of human trafficking,” said Shelley. “There would be many more cases [if they did].”

…“We started to approach the financial institutions and educate them as to what we’re seeing,” said Stephenie Lord Eisert, chief of the Illicit Finance and Proceeds of Crime Unit at HSI. The effort has contributed to approximately 100 arrests and the seizure of some $14 million, she said.

Some banks have also adopted new compliance measures that can thwart human traffickers. In March, JPMorgan Chase instituted a new policy that prohibits cash deposits unless the depositor’s signature is on the account.”

Excerpt from Growing Role of Banks in Identifying Human Traffickers Seen as Crucial by U.S. Officials

By Kira Zalan, readable in full here

Please check out the main ACAMS page on the issue here. If you are interested in learning more about ACAMS or money laundering, there are free webinars available to non-members on their page.

It’s great to read also that major banks are taking steps further than those required by law to try and detect these suspicious networks. The financial industry is really in a great place to do work against organized crime because at some point or another the money feeds into the financial system. Identifying it allows for seizure and arrests of attached parties. It’s also great to discover an organization like ACAMS is taking the time to make sure trafficking awareness is part of their community. Members of ACAMS after all are the AML compliance officers (not all compliance officers are members of ACAMS but it is common) that do the reviews of suspect transactions and accounts. I couldn’t find an exact number member wise on their website, by Wikipedia is saying it was over ten thousand worldwide in 2009. That’s ten thousand financial professionals seeing this issue raised in newsletters, on the webpage, and the community forums.

“Enter the light of your own will, or be dragged to it.”

This is a quote from the game Skyrim. I think it’s actually referring to the hunt of vampires but that’s pretty off topic and I love the quote. Human trafficking is an industry that thrives in the darkness but we can bring light to the issue. Expose it and end it.

Terry Crews/Polaris Project/#giving tuesday

Hey everyone, just stopping by to drop a quick word from former Nfl/current actor Terry Crews and the Polaris Project

#GivingTuesday is in full swing! Today only, an anonymous donor will match every gift, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000 to support Polaris’s BeFree Texting line — and the first $12,500 will be matched again by Polaris’s Board of Directors.

Make a gift of $107 now — a dollar for every survivor we’ve reached through texting this year — and your gift will instantly TRIPLE to $321!

Your gift today funds Polaris’s BeFree Texting line to reach survivors, and especially youth, trapped in trafficking situations across the country. BeFree Texting has already helped Polaris reach over 100 survivors. Thousands more still need our help.

You may know me as an actor and former NFL player, but my most important role is as a father. I’m calling on you to join me in keeping our kids safe from traffickers.

Give $107 today to keep the BeFree Texting line running in 2015, and your gift will be tripled!

Keep the giving going,

Terry Crews
Actor, father, and Polaris Ambassador

P.S. Remember, every dollar you give gets matched and then matched AGAIN! Please give generously for #GivingTuesday to help us end modern slavery.